In architectural design, natural light plays a crucial role, dramatically influencing the ambiance and usability of interior spaces. It enhances our everyday experiences and contributes to our overall well-being.

One particularly popular feature that excels at capturing and magnifying natural light is the simple yet remarkable roof light.

What are roof lights?

A roof light is a window or opening installed in a building’s roof—whether sloped or flat—to let natural light into interior spaces. Designed primarily for illumination, roof lights can also be operable to allow for ventilation.

Available in a range of sizes, styles, and materials, roof lights can be tailored to fit diverse architectural and functional requirements.

What makes roof lights popular?

Roof lights are favoured for various reasons:

  • They increase the amount of natural light in a room, decreasing the necessity for artificial lighting during the day and resulting in a brighter, more inviting space.
  • Often utilised in attic or loft conversions, roof lights help turn these areas into livable rooms by supplying abundant light.
  • They boost energy efficiency by cutting down on the use of electric lighting and enhancing natural ventilation, which aids in maintaining comfortable indoor temperatures.
  • Roof lights also provide views of the sky and surroundings, enhancing the visual appeal of a building.

What are skylights?

A skylight is essentially the same as a roof light, though some countries prefer the term “skylight.” Here in the UK, we commonly use the term “roof light.”

What makes skylights popular?

Since skylights and roof lights are essentially the same, they share the same popularity due to their benefits, such as increasing natural light, enhancing the aesthetics of a space, and improving energy efficiency.

How are roof lights and roof lanterns different?

A roof lantern is another architectural feature designed to enhance the aesthetics and lighting of a space. Unlike roof lights, roof lanterns excel at channeling light from all angles, making them an ideal choice for brightening interiors. They also create a sense of spaciousness by opening up the ceiling to the sky, allowing an abundance of light to flood in from above.

Roof lanterns are typically constructed with glazed bars that support the glass panels. While these bars are essential for the structure, they can be visible from below. To minimize this, you can opt for lanterns with minimal glazing bar connectors.

In contrast, roof lights do not have these visible supports and resemble windows in their structure. They can allow up to 25% more light into a room when designed to match internal dimensions, providing a more seamless and unobstructed view.

Which is the better option: a roof light or a roof lantern

When deciding between roof lights and roof lanterns, the best choice depends on your specific needs and the characteristics of your space. Neither option is inherently superior; each has its own benefits and considerations.

If you value unobstructed views and a clean, minimalist design, roof lights may be the ideal choice for you. Conversely, if you’re looking to make a bold architectural statement, flood your room with light, and create a more open and spacious atmosphere, roof lanterns might be more suitable.

Your budget and the specific requirements of your project are crucial factors to consider in your decision-making process.

For further guidance, call our friendly team at 0800 56 77 406. You can also visit our website to explore our impressive selection of roof lights and roof lanterns.

FAQs about skylights and rooflights 

Is a roof window the same as a skylight?

A roof window and a skylight are not the same, although they serve similar purposes.

A skylight is a type of window installed in the roof of a building, designed to admit natural light into a space. Skylights are typically fixed, meaning they cannot be opened, and their primary function is to provide illumination. They come in various shapes and sizes.

A roof window, on the other hand, is specifically designed for use in the roof of a building, usually on sloped roofs. Roof windows are generally larger than skylights and can be opened and closed, allowing for ventilation as well as natural light. They are often used in attic or loft spaces to convert them into habitable rooms and provide a view of the surrounding environment.

What are skylights called in the UK?

In the UK, skylights are often referred to as “roof lights.” The term “roof light” is commonly used to describe a window installed in the roof of a building to let in natural light. Roof lights come in various styles and designs, including fixed and operable options, and are commonly used in both residential and commercial buildings to enhance natural lighting in interior spaces.

What are roof lights for loft conversions?

Roof lights for loft conversions are specially designed windows or roof openings installed in the roof of a building, typically in an attic or loft space, to convert the area into a usable living space, such as a bedroom, office, or other functional areas. These roof lights are strategically positioned to maximize natural light and provide ventilation in the newly created living space. They are often larger than traditional skylights and may be designed to open to allow fresh air into the converted loft area.

Can I customise a roof light to suit my preferences?

Yes, you can customise roof lights to suit your preferences.

At Global Door, we offer a range of stock sizes and standard colours to choose from, but you can also request a bespoke size and custom colour for your roof light (for a custom colour, we just need the RAL code of your desired colour). You can also choose different types of glass and finishes for your roof light, including matt, gloss, and smooth.

If you have more questions or need assistance, please contact our team.